Update on Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Many AFT members and their families are struggling under a mountain of student debt, making it difficult for them to make ends meet. This is an opportunity issue, a funding issue, a living wage issue and a quality of life issue. College has become the new high school, yet we fail to fund it as a public good; as a result, student debt has exceeded $1.5 trillion. That’s why the AFT has taken on the student debt crisis as a union issue. In fact, a few months ago, 11 of our members filed a proposed class-action lawsuit, on behalf of all employees who work in public service, against Navient, a student loan servicer, for purposely and systematically giving these workers inaccurate information about their eligibility for income-driven repayment plans and the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

However, Navient is not the only one to blame. As of the end of December 2018, 53,749 unique borrowers had submitted 65,500 applications for public service loan forgiveness, and only 610 applications had been approved by the Department of Education. Those who work in public service are being denied the forgiveness they are entitled to at alarmingly high rates, and it’s time to put a stop to it. The law that created this program, by the way, was a bipartisan one—signed by President George W. Bush and spearheaded by Sens. Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy more than a decade ago.

That’s why the AFT is exploring further legal action on behalf of our members who have been denied public service loan forgiveness. Specifically, we are looking for AFT members whose applications for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program have be